It is often necessary to gain access to medical records in medical malpractice cases because they contain evidence needed to prove a patient’s claim. Patients have the right to obtain full access to their medical records when requested. The laws governing access are the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and other New York laws. Once a health care provider has received a written request from their patient to see and receive a copy of their medical records, the health care provider is required to allow the patient to see their records within ten days and give the patient a copy of the records within a reasonable time of the request. If the physician or institution needs to charge for copies they can do so but for no more than 75 cents per page plus postage.
Even though the hospital, clinic, or physician owns the medical records in its possession, the patient the medical record pertains to has the right to access the information contained in the records. There are also some third parties who can gain access to certain patient’s medical records. These third parties include parents or guardians, subsequently treating physicians, attorneys representing patients, and other interested parties by subpoena or court order. Under normal circumstances, the patient’s consent is required to allow third parties to access their medical records.
In order to obtain all their medical records, a patient may have to contact multiple hospitals, clinics, and/or physicians regardless of whether they are relevant to the injury claimed in the medical malpractice lawsuit. Patients may also want medical records that are not directly relevant to their injury so they can establish their health before the injury.
In New York, a physician can deny a patient access to some portions of their medical records. Information that can be denied includes the personal notes and observations of the physicians, information disclosed with the expectation that it would remain confidential, information the practitioner believes should not be disclosed with regards to the treatment of a minor, information that may cause the patient or others to be substantially harmed, and records from a substance abuse program. Additionally, information obtained by another physician who is still practicing can also be denied. If the patient wants this information then it should be requested directly from that physician. Patients can appeal denials of access to any or all portions of their medical records.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of medical malpractice and need access to your medical records, contact an experienced Kingston, New York medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
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